Rainbow Roundup

Step out for Bellingham Pride

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A few years ago, on a visit to my former hometown, a longtime friend I hadn’t seen in awhile told me she had “something big” to tell me.

I knew she’d recently broken up with her husband, but I didn’t know why. As we drove to her condo for dinner, she nervously blurted out the news. “I’m gay,” she said, purposefully avoiding eye contact (and not just because she was the one driving).

“Oh, and I’m living with my girlfriend,” she continued. “You’ll meet her in a few minutes.”

I’m not sure how my friend expected I’d react to the news, but when I asked “Are you happy?” and she vigorously nodded her assent, that was all I needed to know.

You see, the fact that she was gay wasn’t what surprised me. What I found shocking was that my friend had spent decades not living as her authentic self. She claimed she hadn’t realized she was a lesbian until falling for a coworker, but past behavior—a suicide attempt in high school, marital therapy related to what she attributed to a low sex drive, the fact that she always had boyfriends but never wanted to gossip about them the way the rest of her peers did—made me wonder if she’d just been in denial. If so, I was relieved she’d discovered the door to the closet and finally stepped through it.

Fast forward to 2017, and my friend is out and proud. She attends Pride marches, posts pictures of her and her current girlfriend on Facebook, works a demanding job as an educator, and helps raise two sons with her ex-husband.

The point of describing my buddy’s journey is to illustrate that a person’s sexuality doesn’t define what kind of human being they are, and that it’s never too late to make big life changes to ensure your future happiness.

At this week’s Bellingham Pride festival—which is billed as the second-largest pride event in the state, and hosts approximately 10,000 participants annually—inclusiveness and acceptance will be the cornerstone of the events that will take place July 7-9 at a variety of locales.

As part of the “Gender Trouble: A Queer Art Showcase” exhibit at Make.Shift Art Space, Friday night’s Art Walk event will kick off festivities at 8:30pm with an all-ages Queer Prom. From 12-3pm Saturday, the Pride Family Picnic at Maritime Heritage Park will focus on fun for the whole tribe. At 7pm that night, the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Evergreen Empire will host its annual Bellingham Pride Drag Show at Rumors Cabaret.

Sunday will be an all-day affair, from a fundraising Pride Breakfast at Homeskillet to the noontime Pride Parade starting at the corner of Halleck and Ohio streets, to the Pride Festival taking place from 12-4pm at the Depot Market Square.

During the weekend of rainbow-hued activities, remember that the agenda of the 18-year-old event is to bring people together and celebrate not just the way we’re all different, but also the ways we’re all the same—whether we’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender or somewhere in between.

“Our goal at Bellingham Pride is to cultivate and preserve a safe and healthy community for LGBTQ-plus folks and their families to live, work, grow and thrive,” organizers say. “We want to celebrate the diversity of human life, promote equal rights, increase the visibility of the LGBTQ community, and have fun doing it.”

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Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Garage Sale and Health Fair

12:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship


7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Flick

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Space Trek, Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Mason Bee Management

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Smoking Crow Opening

9:00am|Smoking Crow

Plant Society Field Trip

10:00am|Birch Bay State Park

Nordic Ski Ambassadors

10:00am|SnoPark at Salmon Ridge

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

March on Bellingham

10:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Of marching and mending


Travel to Cuzco and Machu PIcchu

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Cedar Weaving Workshop

2:00pm|Lynden Library

Teddy Bear Biographies

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Learn to Grow a Vegetable Garden

2:00pm|Sumas Library

Mona Openings

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Mysticism in Art

2:00pm|Skagit County Historical Museum

Exploring Port

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

3:00pm|Everson Library

Kindgom Quest

4:00pm|Village Books

Music and Memories

5:00pm|Swinomish Casino & Lodge

Robert Burns Supper

5:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Ensemble Electra

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

The Good Lovelies

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

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Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship


7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

3:00pm|First Congregational Church

Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

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Cuban Salsa Classes

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Salish Sea Early Music Festival

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church


8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

see our complete calendar »

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